Texas’ Climate Shaded Cold Outbreaks and Outages are Big Driver for Home Batteries

February 2, 2023


Texas will face a fourth day grappling through an ice storm that has caused power outages, grounded flights and triggered deadly accidents on slippery roads.

Cold has gripped the landscape across northern and central Texas, as well as parts of neighboring Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee since the storm swept into the region on Monday. Ice has knocked down trees and power lines, and created havoc for transportation through the region.

“Today is the last day and after that things should be improving,” said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center. “About a half inch of ice is across northern and central Texas and that is a lot of ice — it causes issues with the power grid.”

The ice storm is providing a painful reminder of how the southern US isn’t immune to extreme winter weather. The latest cold snap comes almost two years after a deadly storm in Texas caused the electrical system to fail, leaving millions of residents without power for hours and even days. State officials have made a number of reforms to the grid since then, including reinforcing natural gas plants and pipelines to withstand extreme weather.

As of early Thursday, more than 407,000 customers in Texas were without power, along with nearly 100,000 more in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida, according to PowerOutage.us.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said there is plenty of electricity in the state’s grid and blamed outages on falling trees, according to Tweets. He has also urged people to stay off the roads.

At least 8 people have died in accidents since the storm began, according to the Associated Press.

Another big driver of home battery adoption is the precipitous drop in battery storage prices, driven by EV and grid storage demand. In this case, climate impacts adding to a virtuous cycle of change.

Below, Nebraska State Climatologist Martha Shulski and MIT’s Judah Cohen on climate change and the observed increase in cold arctic air outbreaks across the plains region of North America, especially in February. Just sayin’.

Finally, worth noting that, as “behind the meter” storage at homes and businesses increases, the pressure ramps up for utilities to change their business models to accommodate small power generators – especially home solar – as the potential keeps increasing for “load defection” as battery enabled customers increasingly can store power during cheap hours, and run off battery during expensive peak times – when utilities traditionally have made most profits.


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